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How to Get Rid of Pachysandra

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Pachysandra (Japanese spurge) covers shady growing areas in many home landscapes. With its virulent growth pattern and abundant greenery, many gardeners choose this ground cover as a solution to shady locations that will not grow other plants successfully. Some gardeners may regret starting a pachysandra bed and want to get rid of the plant. Due to the energetic growth of pachysandra, the eradication process requires perseverance and tenacity. With concerted effort, you can remove pachysandra successfully and use the growing space for a more desirable plant.

Clip the pachysandra down to just above the soil level with the hedge clippers or with the lawn mower.

Rake up the pachysandra growth and discard it all in the garbage bag. Do not compost the pachysandra foliage because it may contain seed spores.

Saturate the entire pachysandra bed thoroughly with the garden hose.

Cover the pachysandra bed with the black plastic. If you are using more than one sheet of plastic, overlap the sheets by 2 to 3 inches to ensure complete coverage. Secure the black plastic to the ground with the rocks or bricks.

Leave the black plastic in place for two to three months. During this time, heat from the sun and moisture that builds up beneath the plastic will bake the roots of the pachysandra and eradicate the growth.

Remove the black plastic when the vegetation beneath the black plastic appears dead.

Pull up the dead remains of the pachysandra by hand and discard it.


Things You Will Need

  • Hedge clippers or lawn mower
  • Rake
  • Garbage bag
  • Garden hose
  • Black plastic
  • Large rocks or bricks


  • Instead of using black plastic, you may opt to use an herbicide to eradicate pachysandra. Apply a nonselective herbicide to the pachysandra plants in the middle of the growing season. Give the herbicide one week to work and assess the condition of the pachysandra. Reapply the herbicide if any pachysandra plants survived the first application.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.